A Word About Encouragement, Perfectionism, and the Quilt Police. You’re Scaring the Newbies Away.

Follow me on Instagram @charlamacphee

Perfectionism. Quilt Police. Whatever you want to call it. This crosses my mind often when I’m quilting. What will the quilt police say if I don’t go back and redo that entire row of blocks because they aren’t perfect? What will the quilt police say if I don’t do my binding to their standards? What will the quilt police whisper about my quilt if I dare enter it into a local show?

I have a fairly thick skin, in a few circumstances, quilting is not one. 

As a relative newbie to quilting (just over three years in), the Quilt Police cross my mind much more often than I’m willing to admit. You see, the quilting community is an amazingly supportive one. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve made endless friendships, contacts, and experiences thanks to the many wonderful souls I’ve crossed this quilty path with. But, there are those who strike terror into the hearts of those of us who don’t strive for perfection, and perhaps those that do. They’re the Quilt Police.

The Quilt Police would never, ever buy their fabric at a Fabricland/Fabricville, JoAnn, Walmart etc. They shop exclusively at their LQS, who supply them with the most up to date, trendy, etc. lines. They wouldn’t dream of letting that seam go even a little crooked without redoing it to perfection. They scoff at machine quilting. They are intimidating AF to those of us who are new to this hobby. They scare hoards of us off, never to return. They may even draw a tear to our eyes when we overhear them shaming our entries that we poured our blood, sweat, and tears into at a local show. They are ruining the quilting community one harsh comment and side eye at a time. I know they don’t mean ill will (well, most of the time) but it’s very intimidating to join the quilting world.

Okay, that might be a bit drastic. But, they are scaring scores of newbies off. Some of us have very thin skin and may not try a new skill, fabric, process, etc. for fear of not pulling it off as well as an officer of the QP (Quilt Police). How many amazing pieces, patterns, quilts, runners, projects, etc. are we missing out on thanks to this?

I ask you. No, I beg you. If you think you may belong to this QP force, please, put down your weapons. Yes, those harsh comments and side eyes. How about more support, more encouragement, more love? I mean, a quilter really just wants to make something that they love, or that they hope a loved one will love. Try biting your lip at that crooked row of blocks, that machine quilted top, and that wild fabric you would never have seen because it’s only sold at JoAnn. Some of us just don’t have the funds or the availability to be boutique only shoppers. But you know what we do have? Love of the art. And that is what will keep quilting alive for generations to come. Let’s embrace the newcomers. All of them.